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Egham, UK, August 20, 2015

Gartner's 2015 Hype Cycle for ICT in Africa Points to the Growing Importance of Digital Business

Analysts to Discuss Digital Business Trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015, September 28-30 in Cape Town, South Africa

Gartner, Inc.'s "Hype Cycle for ICT in Africa, 2015" report identifies over 30 key technologies and describes how they will impact business performance during the next 10 years. 

“The Hype Cycle (see Figure 1) aims to help global strategic officers and domestic CIOs from the private and public sectors take account of the current state of important technologies across Africa, including their maturity, adoption and traction," said Mbula Schoen, senior research analyst at Gartner. “It will help them make informed decisions about where to invest and how to advance their operations locally.” 

 

 

Figure 1. Hype Cycle for ICT in Africa, 2015
ICT in Africa Hype Cycle
Source: Gartner (August 2015)

 

Innovations in information and communication technology (ICT) are dramatically changing the way African governments and businesses operate. For example, sophisticated data mining is being used in smart agriculture in several countries to improve how crops are grown by predicting weather, demand and outbreaks of disease. 

The biggest challenge remains the fact that one solution does not suit all countries in Africa. Companies trying to grow their business operations throughout the continent must understand the local market conditions within each country. Small deals stress the business models of many global vendors, to the advantage of local companies. 

Africa is emerging in terms of the deployment and use of communications infrastructure. According to Gartner, spending on end-user communications services in sub-Saharan Africa will grow steadily in the next five years, and reach $71 million in 2019. 

The largest group of enterprise solutions likely to experience "growing pains" as the ecosystems mature and expectations exceed performance centres on payment. It includes digital wallets, retail mobile payments and direct communications service provider billing. 

This is apparent, for example, from the aftermath of the hype surrounding the launch of the Apple Pay service last year. Global adoption of contactless transactions and NFC-enabled mobile payments has been slow, whereas SMS-based solutions have had better adoption in India and parts of Africa. Consumers' lack of enthusiasm for retail mobile payments (mainly due to security concerns) and the unwillingness of large, multichannel retailers to invest in mobile payment processing infrastructures have put this technology almost in the Trough of Disillusionment. Mass global adoption is five to 10 years away. 

Of the 35 technologies on the Hype Cycle, 13 will mature within the next five years and have a transformational or high impact on businesses. Of those, some will enable new ways of doing business across industries, such as bimodal IT operations. 

An organisation with bimodal IT capability can aim to "do it right" for some projects, as was historically the IT department's mission, but simultaneously strive to "do it fast" for others, where governance is less of a concern and speed or agility is paramount. Over half the organisations in Africa already take a two-speed approach to IT projects, compared with the global average of 45 percent. 

"The mobile telephony revolution that has transformed connectivity in Africa will continue to evolve, with further penetration in the next two years coming from ultra-low-cost mobile devices. The revolution is also drawing investors to mobile learning (m-learning), as this helps promote the evolution of mobile usage in Africa," said Ms. Schoen. 

Through 2015, emerging smartphone apps (such as augmented-reality viewers, smartphone e-book readers and scriptable mapping tools) will offer new delivery platforms for educational content. However, platform differences will impact m-learning delivery technologies on smartphones for the remainder of the year. For example, technology-neutral content delivery tools, such as HTML5, may not have matured enough. Certain types of innovative apps may evolve more quickly on more open platforms, such as Android, which impose fewer technical and commercial restrictions on developers. 

In addition, the continued proliferation of connectivity in semiurban and rural parts of Africa could represent a powerful force to narrow the "digital divide," one of the biggest social issues in Africa. This goal will be addressed, in part, by Advanced Underserved Area Comms consisting of non-traditional communication systems like high-altitude balloons, airborne drones and very large constellations of small communications satellites, for regions underserved by terrestrial or conventional communications satellites. 

Further information is available in "Hype Cycle for ICT in Africa, 2015." Gartner analysts will also discuss digital business trends at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2015, which will take place September 28-30 in Cape Town, South Africa. 

Additional information from the event will be shared on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Gartner_inc and using #GartnerSYM. 

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and other senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on these events to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to overcome business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT), is the world’s leading research and advisory company and a member of the S&P 500. We equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve their mission-critical priorities today and build the successful organizations of tomorrow.

Our unmatched combination of expert-led, practitioner-sourced and data-driven research steers clients toward the right decisions on the issues that matter most. We are a trusted advisor and objective resource for more than 15,000 organizations in more than 100 countries — across all major functions, in every industry and enterprise size.

To learn more about how we help decision makers fuel the future of business, visit gartner.com.

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